Summary and Critique

| February 21, 2015

Length: 500 words (Maximum) Formatting: 12 point, times new roman font, single-spaced Due: 2/24, 11:59PM Audience: Humanities Majors Purpose & Grading Your goal for this assignment is to put into practice “The Art of Summarizing” explained in They Say/I Say. According to Graff and Birkenstein, a “good summary requires balancing what the original author is saying with the writer’s own focus” (31). Summarizing can be useful tool for explaining your own argument. Before beginning this assignment, please review “The Art of Summarizing.” You will be evaluated on your ability to successfully convey the points of someone else’s argument and then effectively offer a critique of your own. You will also be assessed on your ability to appropriately address and engage the target audience. Step 1 Imagine that you have been asked to write a critical summary on Amanda Anderson’s “Practicing the Humanities” or Ria Mirchandani’s “Putting Liberal Education in Perspective” for an undergraduate humanities journal on campus. The journal’s editorial board is publishing an issue on the ‘Crisis in the Humanities’ and would like to bring awareness to online content on the topic. Write a summary of either Amanda Anderson’s “Practicing the Humanities” or Ria Mirchandani’s “Putting Liberal Education in Perspective.” Once you choose a text, please re-watch the Ted Talk. Be sure to take notes as you watch. Then, summarize the major points the speaker made. Describe their argument in your own words. Limit your use of quotes. Quotes, unless they are particularly powerful, are unnecessary when writing a summary. Be careful not to simply write a “list summary,” where you detail everything that the speaker has said. Focus on the speaker’s larger claim. You might find it helpful to write down the important points raised in the presentation. Step 2 At the very end of your summary, you should offer a brief critique: this is your response to the speaker’s argument. What’s your overall impression of their argument? Evaluate one of the speaker’s points. State whether you agree or disagree with that point, and then explain why. What did you find interesting or problematic about their point? Be specific and concise here. Avoid the temptation to make this an argumentative essay, as this is a summary with just a small dose of your opinion mentioned at the end. Keep your critique in mind as you are writing your summary. Whatever ideas you choose to critique at the end, you will have to make sure that you mention them first in your summary. If you do this, you’re less likely to confuse readers. It also helps provide a focus and frames your critique. You are more than welcome to use the templates and signal verbs covered in “The Art of Summarizing.” In fact, I strongly encourage you to do so. You can find these at the end of the chapter. Don’t worry about MLA in-text citation for this. No outside research is necessary.

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